A bill moving through the Montana Legislature that would restrict health care options for transgender youth was narrowly rejected by the House after a handful of Republicans flipped their votes.
Five Republicans who voted in favor of House Bill 113 on second reading Monday changed their minds when the bill came up for a final vote. They joined other Republicans and the entire House Democratic caucus in voting no Tuesday. The final vote was 49-51.
The bill, carried by Rep. John Fuller, a Republican representing an area of Kalispell, would have barred doctors from providing gender affirming care to transgender youth.
Rep. Denley Loge, a Republican from St. Regis, changed his vote. He says he ultimately feels the bill would be government overreach.
“I got thinking about it, and the doctors, there are some things they need to do, and this wouldn’t have allowed them even just simple things."
House Majority Leader Sue Vinton from Billings, and Representatives Wendy McKamey from Ulm, Marta Bertoglio from Clancy, and Tom Welch from Dillon, also changed their votes to no.
House Minority Leader Kim Abbott, a Democrat from Helena, said her caucus is thrilled that the bill was voted down.
"It’s good news for trans kids and their parents, Montana families. It’s good news for Montana medical providers. You saw incredible opposition from the medical community to this."
Opposition far outweighed support for the bill when it was heard in committee last week. Montana health care professionals, religious leaders and human rights organizations all pushed back against the proposal.